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Messi, Barca power past Milan

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Published : 2012-04-04 20:03
Updated : 2012-04-04 21:08

BARCELONA (AP) ― With another record-setting performance by Lionel Messi, Barcelona advanced to the Champions League semifinals for the fifth straight season.

Messi converted a pair of penalty kicks in the first half, and the defending champions beat AC Milan 3-1 Tuesday night following a 0-0 tie in the first leg last week in Italy. “You can talk all you want about referees but that makes it five straight semifinals, the fruits of our talent and a lot of work,” Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said. “We deserved more than to just get through, so I’m satisfied.”
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (right) celebrates his goal with teammate Cesc Fabregas. (AP-Yonhap News)

Milan, which hasn’t reached the semifinals since its last title in 2007, was critical of Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers.

“I’m just disgusted,” said Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who left Barcelona for Milan in August 2010. “They are the best team in the world but at 1-1 and, playing with intelligence, you can do something. In my opinion it wasn’t fair.”

In Munich, host Bayern beat Marseille 2-0 on goals by Ivica Olic in the 13th and 37th minutes for a 4-0 aggregate win.

Barcelona, seeking to become the first repeat winner of Europe’s top club competition since Milan in 1989 and 1990, opens the semifinals April 18 at Chelsea or Benfica. Chelsea takes a 1-0 lead into Wednesday’s second leg at Stamford Bridge.

Bayern Munich, in the semifinals for the second time in three years, is home April 17 against Real Madrid or APOEL Nicosia. The Spanish team leads 3-0 going into its second leg Wednesday.

“Four goals against Marseille. Semifinal against Real. That’s very good for us, for the head, for the confidence,” Bayern’s Franck Ribery said.

Messi opened the scoring at Camp Nou in the 11th minute after Luca Antonini slid into him from behind. The 24-year-old became the youngest player to score 50 Champions League goals.

Asian Champions League

GOSFORD, Australia (AP) ― Al Jazira of the United Arab Emirates remained on track to advance in the Asian Champions League with an impressive 2-1 win Tuesday over Iranian club Esteghlal, while Australian A-League leader Central Coast Mariners held 2010 tournament winner Seongnam Ilhwa to a 1-1 draw despite finishing with 10 men.

UAE league champions Al Jazira, which is undefeated in its three Group A matches, opened the scoring when Jumaa Abdullah headed home from close range in the sixth minute. Two-time Asian champion Esteghalal drew level in the 68th minute when Ferydoon Zandi scored from long range.

But three minutes later, Al Jazira striker Bare scored the winner.

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